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Labour employment policy flops

Labour employment policy flops

“Michael Joseph Savage would turn in his grave if he knew more than 6000 Kiwis have been on the dole for a decade or more,” according to the National Party’s Employment spokeswoman Katherine Rich.

She’s commenting on figures made public by ACT’s Muriel Newman which show more than 6000 people have been on the unemployment benefit since 1992 - a figure that’s increased of 10% since Labour became Government.

“It’s simply appalling and further evidence the Government’s weak approach to welfare has disastrous consequences.

“New Zealand’s enjoying some of the best economic conditions for a generation, but there’s still a group which is bigger than many small towns that hasn’t enjoyed a real pay cheque for more than a decade,” she says.

“Clearly, not enough is being done to assist or encourage the long-term unemployed into work.

“The unemployment benefit was never intended to offer long-term support.

“It’s a transitional benefit designed to support New Zealanders who are between jobs and actively looking for work,” Katherine Rich says.

“I’m shocked and saddened by these figures.

“After 10 years on the dole most will be penniless and without any assets unless they supplement their income from other areas.

“It’s time for Work and Income to give greater emphasis to the word work.

“In his briefing the Minister was told only 30% of staff time was spent on finding people work and 70% on administering income support,” she says.

"Currently the main focus of a persons first appointment with Work and Income is to get them on a benefit.

“Surely it would be more positive if that focus was to discuss the employment opportunities already on the Department’s books," Katherine Rich says.

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